John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo
Even if the Toronto Raptors choose to hold on to point guard Kyle Lowry, there's no doubt that he boosted his trade value considerably with All-Star caliber play this season.
According to a report from ESPN's Marc Stein earlier this month, the Raptors have yet to make a final call regarding Lowry's status, but they appear to be leaning toward keeping him given the team's current standing in the Eastern Conference:
For the first time, there are certifiable rumbles emanating from Toronto suggesting that the Raptors might well keep point guard Kyle Lowry for the rest of the season. Word is new GM Masai Ujiri continues to resist locking into any sort of firm position -- leaving open the possibility of a Lowry deal if the offers suddenly get sweeter -- but team officials appear to be growing increasingly comfortable with the idea that it’s better to go for what would be just Toronto's third playoff berth in 13 seasons rather than try to do the absolute uber-tanking it would take from here for the 17-17 Raps to get into Andrew Wiggins range now.
While it's easy to become enamored with Lowry's offensive numbers (16 points, 7.5 assists, a PER of 19.6 and a career-high offensive rating of 121), his play on the defensive end has been superlative as well.
One of the league's best defensive point guards, Lowry is tying his career-best defensive rating of 104 and has been spectacular this month, posting a season-high net rating of 4.7.
With his value skyrocketing, the Raptors have to be intrigued by the possibility that they could net a nice return for their star point guard, but buyers may ultimately be wary of shelling out for Lowry because his contract is set to expire at season's end.
Either way, Lowry figures to earn a hefty raise this summer.